Trying to narrow down ten favorite albums into a tidy list is the worst kind of work. If you’re like me, your music moods change daily, so how is it really possible to be so concise and come up with your absolute best of the year? Nothing is absolute. While trying to compile this over a series of days, albums were added, others were nixed, then others were unearthed as if I’d forgotten they existed until I saw the name on my iTunes or in the stacks of CDs and only then remembered how obsessively I listened to something like Liars’ Sisterworld or These New Puritans or Salem as soon as the tracks made their way into Sentimentalist Magazine’s inbox. Revisiting a few forgotten faves that came out earlier this year was probably the best part about doing this damnable list.

10. Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest (4AD)

Delicate, intense, brainy and seemingly not of this earth, in the best way.

9. Foals – Total Life Forever (Transgressive/Warner)
Their intricate, elegant discord makes magic math make sense.

8. Surfer Blood – Astro Coast (Kanine)
My favorite of the beach-themed bands, comforting and smooth, and you have to love a song called “Catholic Pagans.”

7. ClinicBubblegum (Domino)
I’ll never tire of these quirky masked men; who knew they had a ballad like “I’m Aware” up their scrub sleeves with lucky album number 6?

6. LCD Soundsystem – This is Happening (DFA)
I should always feel this good on the dancefloor

5. Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles (Fiction)
I caught them at a SXSW Beauty Bar Iheartcomix party back before they were overly-hyped and thought “not bad for electroclash” and I liked her pink eye stripe, then this latest album stunned me for songs like “Fainting Spells.” The “girl in the graveyard” album photo is an added bonus.

4. Salem – King Night (IAMSOUND)
Sinister, genre-defying soundtrack for the latest late night revels.

3. Interpol – Interpol (Matador)
Songs like “Always Malaise (The Man I Am)” are the best kind of brooding.

2. These New Puritans – Hidden (Domino)
Grand orchestrations, tribal drums, words as daggers, pretentious yes, but so am I, at times.

1. Liars - Sisterworld (Mute)

Conceptual, twisted beauty that can’t be contained.


  1. Genre-denying is more like it